What to Expect on your First Visit

Dear Journal,

My wife and I made our first visit to Walnut Valley Vineyard Church this morning at 10am.  We had a little trouble finding it before we realized it was in a row of office buildings on a quiet street in Walnut.  At first, we were a little worried that the church was "too small", but after we went in, we saw that it was bright, airy and bigger than it looked from the street.

After we parked in the front parking lot, we went into the entrance area, which had some nice cafe-type tables (someone had baked some fresh cupcakes--delicious!)  A nice gentleman greeted us with the Sunday bulletin, welcomed us to the church, and asked us if we had any questions.  He then pointed us to the sanctuary, which was beyond some clear glass doors.  We walked in and sat in the back.

They had already starting worship, which for this church is modern worship songs by a live band that lasted about 20 minutes.  The songs are energetic, as well as beautiful.  We couldn't help but start singing along, although we noticed some people didn't.  I guess to each his own here.  Many were standing, but we saw people sitting and standing again as they felt the Holy Spirit move them.

After the last worship song; we fell silent as we waited for the Word of God to speak through someone.  We heard a Word on letting go of our worries, and let Jesus guide our way.  We felt this church is really connected to and seeking to hear God.  Then we greeted each other.  Everyone nearby went out of their way to meet us and introduce themselves!  I don't remember a single person's name, but I'm sure we'll get to know them better as we continue to attend.  They seem to have a real sense of community and fellowship.

After greeting each other the worship team (band) sang one last song before Pastor Mark began his sermon.  I really liked his teaching style.  He connected his message to real-life situations, and he was never too "preachy" or righteous.  How do I describe it?  He had a lot of compassion and understanding, yet he desperately wanted us all to grow closer to Jesus.  And I also remember how he seemed very authentic; he didn't take on a different persona when he was preaching his sermon.

After about 45 minutes, we were done, and we noticed many people stayed behind to talk to each other.  We wanted to talk to each other about what we had experienced, so we left early, but after talking we decided we would go back again.  Next time, we'll talk to Pastor Mark and get to know him a little better.  We also plan on joining one of the small groups to get to know the people in church better.

Journal, I think this may be the start of something truly dependable in our lives: true fellowship.